UN Pension Board Finally Grants Equal Benefits to All Legal Couples!
At its annual meeting which has just concluded, the United Nations Pension Board has endorsed a new policy recognizing all unions according to the law of the country where the union took place, not the staff member's country of nationality.
All staff who are in a legal union will now be able to designate their partners as the recipient of pension benefits when the staff member dies. This is an important change from the previous policy that only granted these benefits if the staff member’s country of nationality recognized the legal union, resulting in unequal benefits for some couples who had married in another country.
It was a policy that disproportionately impacted LGBTI couples, and I am glad to see it gone.
This is one more step towards equality and inclusion in the UN system. It also signals that UN-GLOBE is slowly succeeding in pushing the UN system to become a more embracing workplace for all people.
Change in pension policies has been one of the top priorities for UN-GLOBE and it’s finally here. LGBTI staff members should not die without assurances that their spouses will be taken care of by a pension scheme to which they have contributed so much money.
The intent to change the policy was announced to me at a meeting I had with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPF), the Secretariat body of the Pension Board, a few months ago. I am grateful to them for delivering on their promise.
I am also grateful to all those who of you who, following UN-GLOBE’s call, wrote to the UNJSPF asking for recognition for your partner. Your letters helped put pressure on them to change their policies. I am also grateful to individuals like Christophe Monier and Pierre Sayour who represented the interests of staff before the Pension Board and who played an instrumental role.
With this step, the UNJSPF will finally align its policies with the policies of the majority of the UN system when it comes to recognizing all legal unions.
Hyung Hak Nam (Alfonso)
PS - In the short term, the UNJSPF , following this decision by its Board, will now update its current guidelines. Some more patience may be needed until they do.